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Restore Your Patio Furniture [in 5 Easy Steps]

After years of being used for barbecues, outdoor entertaining, and general lounging about, your wooden patio furniture can start to look a little worse for wear.

Winter storms, blistering summer sun, and the simple passing of time, all take their toll on your patio furniture, robbing it of its initial splendour.

The best way to restore your furniture to its former glory is by cleaning, stripping it back and repainting or restaining. So here’s our 5 step guide to doing just that.

Step 1: Clean

Your first job is to give your patio furniture a good clean. You’re looking to get rid of all that dust and dirt, cobwebs, bird-droppings, and the like. As well as more severe grime such as mould and dirt build-ups.

We recommend using soap, warm water and a sponge. In most cases it gets the job done, and it doesn’t cost you any more than the price of, well, soap and water!

That said, if you’re facing a particularly hard job, wood cleaner concentrates are available from most DIY and hardware stores.

Don’t be afraid to scrub nice and hard, we’ll soon be stripping back the wood anyway.

Cleaning wooden patio furniture

Step 1: Give your furniture a good clean

Step 2: Strip Back Paint or Varnish

Before applying a new layer of paint or varnish you’ll need to remove the old.

Start by scraping away flaking, loose paint or varnish with a paint scraper. Then using a paint brush, evenly apply wood stripper to the furniture’s surface; let it set, as per the instructions on the wood stripper’s label.

You should now be able to remove the remainder of the paint or varnish using your paint scrapper. Keep stripping back until all the paint or varnish is removed.

Alternatively you can hire and use a heat-gun to remove the finish, however this will of course incur additional cost.

Stripping back wood varnish

Step 2: Stripping back varnish or paint

Step 3: Sand

The important thing to remember when sanding, is to sand with the grain of the wood; not against or across it. Improper sanding leads to scratches and spirals that can really detract from your finished product.

When we sand, we prefer to use a sanding block. Its solid surfaces makes for a more even sand, and because of its size and shape it’s perfect for getting into nooks and crannies.

That said, if you prefer sandpaper, or an electric orbital sander, these will also get the job done.


Step 3: Sanding back your wooden furniture

Step 4: Stain or Paint

Whether you stain or paint really depends upon your preference. Both have their benefits and drawbacks, and both can more-or-less be applied in the same way.

Give your piece one last wipe-down to remove any traces of dirt or sawdust. Then using a brush apply a layer of paint/stain to the wood. Use long even strokes, and always brush along the grain.

Even our blotchy areas with a soft cloth, and reapply as necessary. Repeat until you’ve covered every area of your furniture. Allow to drive overnight. If the colour is not as deep as you like, then add another coat.

Do it yourself

Step 4: Giving your piece a new coat

Step 5: Apply Sealant

Lastly, you’ll want to add on a good quality timber sealer. This’ll protect your patio furniture from the elements, as well as general wear and tear.

Before starting, ensure that your new layer of paint or stain is dry. You may also want to give it a wipe down with a cloth to remove any residual dust.

Apply using a paint brush, in even strokes, again in the direction of the grain. If using multiple coats, allow the sealer to dry in between applications.

And that’s it, well done! If you’ve completed this last step, then you’ve successfully restored your wooden patio furniture.

Putting wood sealant on patio furniture

Step 5: Applying a wood sealant

Bonus Step: Maintenance

Now that you’ve gone to the trouble of restoring your wooden furniture, there are some simple things you can do to keep it looking its best.

If possible keep your patio furniture away from the elements, that means when not in use remove your pieces from direct sunlight or the path of storms.

Give your furniture an occasional wash down with a hose. And if spills occur, for example a split soft drink during a barbecue, wipe if off promptly.

For more on outdoor areas, check out other articles on our blogs page.